According to The 2017 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Guest Experience Management, released last week by Starfleet Research and currently available for complimentary access, technology expenditures this year are largely focused on initiatives geared towards enhancing the guest experience.
According to the research, overall hotel IT budgets, which were approximately 4 per cent of revenue last year for small and medium-sized properties and 6 per cent for large properties, are growing, with almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of hoteliers indicating that their IT budgets have increased by at least 25 per cent this year. These investments in technology solutions should ultimately translate into increased revenue and profitability.
What considerations should hoteliers keep in mind when researching technology solutions in the context of guest experience management (GEM)? The most important buying consideration may be, simply, the degree to which the hotel can automate the core functions that impact the quality of the guest experience, which, in reality, is practically all of them.
Streamlining guest interactions and transactions and improving daily efficiencies around other hotel operations, from housekeeping to property maintenance and facility management, should be the primary focus of any GEM initiative. Improving operational efficiencies generally translates into shorter wait times and fewer overall inconveniences.
Automation of many hotel operations falls squarely on the shoulders of the property management system (PMS). Other hospitality technologies that enable next-generation GEM capabilities include specialized department solutions and a service optimization solution.
Property management system
From enabling multiple guest-facing activities to capturing and storing guest data, the property management system plays a critical role in enabling guest experience management. The PMS serves as the technology backbone for everything from managing reservations and rates, checking guests in and out of the property and assigning rooms to handling billing requirements.
Hoteliers looking to upgrade their PMS capabilities should expect any system under consideration to, at a minimum, facilitate housekeeping assignment, control group room block allocations, automate room and tax posting and other night audit processing. They should also expect the PMS to capture and store guest preferences and transaction histories across all parts of the organization, including restaurants, spas and recreational facilities. This empowers the staff to present guests with personalized offers — for example, at the golf courses they play or for the beverages they drink.